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Speech by SMS Koh Poh Koon at the official launch of SeafoodXchange

Speech by SMS Koh Poh Koon at the official launch of SeafoodXchange

Distinguished guests, 
Ladies and gentlemen,

Introduction

1. Good afternoon to all of you. It is my pleasure to join you for the official launch of SeafoodXchange, Singapore’s first business-to-business (B2B) electronic seafood marketplace developed by vCargo Cloud (VCC), in partnership with three major seafood associations and supported by Enterprise Singapore, Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) as well as Singapore Food Agency (SFA).

2. Today, most seafood merchants fulfil orders from their buyers based on the day’s catch. From order placement to supply sourcing, and subsequently order fulfilment, these merchants continue to rely on manual processes. The scene of wholesalers scribbling down orders at fishery ports with pens and pocket notebooks has largely remained unchanged for decades. It is clear that innovation is needed to transform the seafood trade in Singapore into the next phase of growth.

Helping the seafood trade embrace the digital economy

3. SeafoodXchange is one of the initiatives that have been realized since the launch of the Wholesale Trade Industry Digital Plan (IDP) in November last year. The IDP is a part of the Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for the Wholesale Trade sector, which sets out strategies to strengthen enterprise capabilities and grow a vibrant ecosystem of wholesale traders in Singapore. Specifically, the IDP helps companies in the sector plug into the digital economy and reap greater benefits over time. 

4. Creating digital solutions for cross-border seafood trade requires a deep understanding of international trade practices, and domain knowledge of the seafood industry, which a technology partner would not possess. Thus, collaboration across different ecosystems, involving trade associations, technology providers and government bodies, is critical in ensuring that these solutions are relevant and gain market acceptance.  

5. SeafoodXchange serves as a testament that the adoption of digital technologies is possible in any industry, even in traditional industries such as seafood trading, as long as companies are willing and committed to transform and raise productivity. Through this platform, companies can enjoy a streamlined and digitalized process for seafood trading. They can also pool resources to complement their product offerings, and access overseas markets and new growth opportunities through online trading.  

6. I would like to take this opportunity to commend our three seafood associations, namely Punggol Fish Merchants Association, Seafood Industries Association Singapore, and Singapore Fish Merchants’ General Association, for taking the lead in driving this initiative with VCC to transform and digitalize seafood trade.

Companies must innovate and digitalise to stay ahead

7. I look forward to seeing players in other food segments tap on expertise in the ecosystem, develop their B2B digital marketplaces, and bring their businesses to the global stage. I envisage that these marketplaces would in time unite under an integrated platform to create a one-stop B2B food marketplace in Singapore. 

8. I urge our enterprises to be proactive, continue to innovate and be open to opportunities brought about by technological disruption. With the rapid advancement of technologies and changes in business models, innovation cycles are becoming shorter. New players can emerge rapidly in an increasingly borderless world, and even out-perform well-established companies that do not adapt to the new normal.
 
Conclusion

9. To sum up, I hope all of you will continue to work closely with other businesses and industry partners to take advantage of our innovation ecosystem to transform the wholesale trade sector, and strengthen Singapore’s competitiveness as a global trading hub.

10. Once again, I congratulate all those involved in bringing SeafoodXchange to fruition. Thank you.

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